Howl's Moving Castle

Book review by Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Howl's Moving Castle Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 9+

Young girl turned old lives with a wizard.

Parents say

age 9+

Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 9+

Based on 14 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 8+

Wimsical and quirky, good for all ages.

This is one of those rare books where someone asks you what age it's for and you just kind of shug. There is a Princess Bride-like fairytale quality to it that is simtaniously charming and reminiscant of satire; since the very beginning for instance, we see Sophie question her potential, since the eldest child in the folk tales always seem to fail. Unlike in the Gibly film, there is no war or bird-monster to intensify the plot. Instead we mostly get to relish Howl and Sophie's witty, hillarous dynamics as they journey along in the moving castle, solving puzzels and learning from one another. One major aspect off the plot, though, is simply "Howl is off soducing women again *sigh* the heck are we going to do about him." Nothing is overtly inappropriate, but you certainly get a different reading out of it as an adult. By far the best part of this book is the charecters. If you come from the Gibly film like me, you may start off skeptical. Who is this bitter, frank, and combative woman and what happened to the sweet little Sophie? And why is our gentle, mysterious Howl so overtly vain and dramatic? Well, welcome to Diana Wayne Jones's version. Give it a few chapters and you'll love it. It's it somehow both difficult and fun to stay mad at Howl for anything. He is this perfectly irristible personality, with a Gatby-like uplifting confidence, and sense of more abiguity that keeps you on your toes. It's all summed up in this quote:  "Half the time I think he doesn't care what happens to anyone as long as he's alright--but then I find out how awfully kind he's been to someone. Then I think he's kind just when it suits him--only then I find out he undercharges poor people. I don't know, Your Majesty. He's a mess" That's right. And we love that about him. Now on to Sophie. The feminist in me just delights in this charecter. She is stubborn as anything, clever and fearless. It's also cool to me that she lives most of her life in the body of a ninety year old, demonstrating to readers that you don't have to be attractive to be a female protagonist, or to find love in the end. In a way this story is a little like a reverse beauty and the Beast, where Howl has to fall in love with Sophie (gradually, or the course of many a secretly playful quarrel) not for her looks, but for her personality. The romance is also a wonderful and heartwarming aspect of the story, though it goes down very differently then in the movie. In the movie's ending, Sophie saves Howl's life, and he looks up at her and says "oh Sophie, your hair looks just like Starlight. It's beautiful!" In book that scene goes something like this: Howl (waking up): dammit, I've got a hangover! Sophie (who just transformed into her younger self): no silly you hit your head on the floor Howl: I have to go, I have to go save that fool Sophie! I loved both versions so much. This book is a delightful read full of spunk and energy. I would highly recommend.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 9+

Fantastic book

This book was fantastic, it has a wonderful meaning and it teaches a very good lesson of not complaining about who you are and learning to live with someone who has faults just like you and if you make a promise you need to hold to your word. And not to be a coward. Be cause your touble is only going to get worse. There is wizards and magic. Calcifier was my favorite character. Howl does get into a fight with the witch of the waste and temporarily dies, Sophie is has to shovel howl's heart back into his chest. There is a happy ending.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

Book Details

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